Through Endangered Eyes, a poetic journey into the wild, by Rachel Allen Dillon is a great book to share with elementary-aged students when teaching about endangered species, life cycles, and habitats. Each page spread informs of an endangered animal with a poem and a beautiful "dot" painting.
Sharing Through Endangered Eyes
Through Endangered Eyes is a unique look at endangered species because of Rachel Allen Dillon's talent with poems and a paintbrush. You can use this book to teach endangered species lesson plans. Her paintings show what an endangered animal looks like, using a dot technique. Each wonderful illustration is composed of hundreds of dots. The reason why this book can easily be incorporated into endangered species lesson plans is it has several pages of factual information at the back of the book. Each endangered species, featured with a poem and a painting, in the front of the book is listed again in the back with facts about the animal and its status on the endangered species list. Use this book as a starting point to explore your science unit on animals from life cycles to adaptations to predators and prey.
Exploring Endangered Species
Here is one of the endangered species lesson plans with extensions that may fit with your science objectives:
After reading the poems in Rachel Allen Dillon's book, ask students to name any animal they remember from the poems. Make a list of the endangered species on a piece of chart paper. Then read the corresponding information in the back of Through Endangered Eyes (or your students can read this part to the class depending on their age and reading ability). Next to the name of the animal, write a few key facts that students report to you after hearing the "fact" page read. (This endangered species lesson plan also works on listening and comprehension skills.)
Once you have read about the animals (this could take more than one class period), make a new list, based on the facts students are learning from this book, of why these animals are on the endangered species list. For example, some of the reasons your students should come up with are: over hunting, loss of habitat, and pollution.
- Based on your school's science curriculum, you can choose the following ideas for more endangered species lesson plans:
- Explore these questions: What is an animal's habitat and why is it so important to an animal? What are the basic needs each habitat fulfills for an animal? So, when a habitat is destroyed, such as a rain forest, what are the basic needs that are being taken away from the rain forest animals? Is this why so many rain forest animals are on the endangered species list? What are people doing to help solve this problem?
- Take a zoo field trip, and discover what zoos do to help endangered species. Before you go to the zoo, call ahead and ask for a zookeeper to give you a special tour of animals on the endangered species list. The tour guide should also provide information on how zoos are helping the animals.
- Discuss how animals, that are over hunted, may be on the endangered species list because of shortened life cycles. They are not able to reproduce as often, or maybe ever, as they should. Another problem may be an animal's eggs are being destroyed in a certain habitat. If life cycles are affected, then an animal could end up on the list.
Through Endangered Eyes will leave an impression on children with its beautiful art, easy-to-read poetry, and interesting facts about these animals. You will definitely want to incorporate this book into your endangered species lesson plans.